There is no second argument that Google Play Store is the most dominating portal for Android games and apps till today. Just sign-in from your Google account and you are ready to download your favourite Android app on smart phone but the things are not in your favour all the times. For example, if you belong to a country like China where major Google services are blocked or slowed down. There may be a scenario when you can face “Connection Error” problem within Play Store app. Of course, this can be easily resolved by applying different fixes but sometimes you don’t have enough time to do so and desperately want an Android Market solution without Gmail Sign-in requirement. So here I’m presenting the top five alternatives to Google Play Store.
1 Mobile Market: This is probably the biggest Android Market after Google Play Store as they have more than 800,000 free apps and games for download. They don’t have paid apps as they only provide free apps and games.
The good thing about 1 Mobile Market is that they are continuously improving with every upcoming version, giving lots of enhancements for both novice and advanced users. Under Settings Menu, user can set data limit, app screenshot visibility, download limit from 10 MB to unlimited, automatic download, auto run apk installer, task limit, package saving option, download directory, clear cache and search history, reset all user data, system settings, settings for root users like auto upgrade, auto install and uninstall etc.
The only drawback I think is that there is very casual support for Android developers. In order to be listed, you must provide the Google Play Store URL of your app.
Amazon App Store: After experienced Amazon, I must say that this is definitely one of the best alternatives to Google Play Store. Having more than 260,000 high quality apps and games, good support for developers, great place for apps purchasers and last but not the least feature is the “free app of the day”. You can download and install one paid app or game for free every day but of course they will select the app or game, not you 🙂
SlideMe: Having more than 24,300 Android apps and games, SlideME is a market place for quality conscious Android users. SlideME Application Manager (or simply SAM) has less numbers of apps due to their strict policy as every submitted app will be first tested by their editors and after their approval, it will appear on SAM system.
SlideME has most of popular apps and games whether paid or free ones but latest versions of apps not always present. Under Preferences menu, there are settings like limit the number of apps per page, limit screenshots, show only apps without ads, target country, target language, select currency to display, parental control to lock or unlock certain features, manage PIN, chear cache and history etc.
SlideME has excellent support for Android developers. In order to approve apps, the developers must read their FAQs. Unlike Google Play Store, it is almost impossible to upload malware or junks to SAM due to manual review process by their staff members. Maximum allowed APK file size is 99 MB and there is option to protect app with SlideLock.
APTOiDE: Another high class alternative to Google Play Store. Offers more than 255,000 Android apps and games. It is an open source app installer, having intuitive user interface, no non-sense feature. APTOiDE is unique in a sense that it offers to create your own app store for your brand and pre-load it on your Android device.
- Rollback to previous version if you don’t like updated version of app.
- Scheduled Downloads to include any app into the list, having option to remove it any time.
- Excluded Updates list for any app.
APTOiDE has excellent support for Android developers as well. Get register yourself as a developer and upload your Android apps. They are offering Certified Publisher Program (CPP) for free to increase your apps downloads by using strategies like in-app billing solution with 75% revenue share, your app promotion by advertisements, global distribution and lot of support from APTOiDE team members.
MoboMarket: With more than 300,000 top class free Android games and apps, MoboMarket is definitely going to secure its place in our top 5 list. Here at MoboMarket, you can find every popular free app or game with latest version. There is no sign-up or gmail account sync required to use MoboMarket.
Apart from usual tasks, it also has features like free up RAM, Android Cleaner, App transfer, Connect to PC etc. Settings Menu has ON or OFF options for features like Smart install, Auto install, delete apk file after install, WiFi auto update, disable images under 2G or 3G network etc.
It is interesting to note that MoboMarket (developed by moborobo.com) is only 2 years old and keep growing rapidly. The support for Android developers and publishers is provided by their MoboJoy portal.
Note: Android developers can submit their apps for FREE to all above App Stores while Google Play Store is charging 25$ for registration fee.
Yesterday, I had released a minor update of AndScreen version 1.1.0. These minor changes are as follows:
● Added New Feature: Create unlimited profiles for android phones. Your selected profile will be loaded automatically on startup of AndScreen software.
● Change: Now “Locate ADB Folder” feature is under “Settings” menu.
Read complete list of features of AndScreen from this page.
You can download AndScreen latest version from this link:
Screenshots of AndScreen 1.1.0:
Andscreen (System Mode):
AndScreen (Recovery Mode):
AndScreen 1.1.0 Version:
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QMobile Noir A2 was first rooted by an XDA forum member named as “Nagdrx”, although he is so humble about this procedure that he is not the creator of this method and just connected some pieces to get a working method. This statement gave a room to some cheaters to claim the ownership of this method. But the fact is fact. He is still the first person who practically rooted QMobile Noir A2 (MT 6575 version 2 ). I personally very thankful to “Nagdrx” for his post. You can read his great post from this page.
Anyway, I followed his procedure and made this simplest tutorial for beginners who can’t understand it without screenshots. First of all, download this compressed file to your PC. Uncompress above rar file to desktop like this:
You will see “Noir A2 ROOT” folder having these contents:
1. SP_Flash_Tool (Folder)
2. CWM-Recovery-22.214.171.124.img (file)
3. MT6573_Android_scatter.txt (file)
4. SuperSU-v1.65.zip (file)
Copy compressed file “SuperSU-v1.65.zip” to SD Card of your mobile. Now install USB driver from this rar file before proceeding to the next step. It is assumed that USB debugging mode is enabled on your mobile. You can get it by going to Menu > Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging (check: ON). Select Allow USB debugging : OK.
Open folder “SP_Flash_Tool” :
Execute “Flash_Tool.exe” file to see screen below :
Click on “Scatter-loading” radio button and select “MT6573_Android_scatter.txt” file :
Click “OK” to ignore this message :
This will load the scatter file. Now click on “Recovery” option to open “CWM-Recovery-126.96.36.199.img” file :
You can see complete file path of Recovery image file when you open it :
Switch off your QMobile Noir A2 mobile and remove battery for few seconds. Then again put battery into mobile but keep it in switch-off state. Click to “Download” radio button which will start the 14 seconds count down :
Immediately connect your mobile to PC via USB cable to start the download process :
After the completion of download, you will see “Rom Download Result” dialog message followed by green circle dialog screen like below :
Now CWM Recovery has been installed. Close the “SP_Flash_Tool” software. Automatically you will see “Found New Hardware Wizard” dialog screens. Just click “Next” button and follow the steps :
Now disconnect your mobile from PC. Press “Power” button, Volume UP and Volume Down keys simultaneously for 3 seconds till you see two options:
Recovery Mode: Volume Up
Factory Mode: Volume Down
Just press “Volume Up” side key to boot into Recovery Mode. You will see this screen:
Select “install zip from sdcard” by pressing “Power” button :
Select “choose zip from sdcard” by pressing “Power” button :
Select “SuperSU-v1.65.zip” file and press “Power” button :
This will install SuperSU application into your mobile :
Now you have “Rooted QMobile Noir A2” with CWM Recovery installed. Select “reboot system now” to go into system mode. Below are the screenshots after the root process:
WARNING: After this root process, you must make backup of currently installed ROM before uninstalling any application. So that you can easily go back to its original state. You can do it (under CWM recovery) by going to backup and restore > backup.
All the screenshots of system and recovery modes are taken by using my newly developed software “AndScreen v 1.1.0”, developed in Visual Basic 6 language. I will upload this new 1.1.0 version on 21st October, 2013. Below is the screenshot of this upcoming version 1.1.0:
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I have developed a new screenshot application for Android devices, works under System and Recovery modes as well and released “AndScreen version 1.0.0” for Windows XP / 7 (32 bit) systems.
AndScreen has made it very easy to capture Android screens in much lesser time than ever before. Screenshot images will be saved in a pre-defined folder with a unique file name.
Andscreen (System Mode):
AndScreen (Recovery Mode):
Also It has a built-in Screenshot Viewer component for fastest browsing.
AndScreen (Screenshot Viewer):
You can see all removable USB devices connected to computer and the information will be displayed in the format like:
USB > Removable > Drive (Letter)/ > Device Name :: Vendor ID :: Product ID :: Product Revision
AndScreen (Main Features):
● Ability to take screenshot of display screen (for Android devices only).
● Both System and Recovery modes are supported.
● Recovery mode only works with rooted phones.
● Ability to save and view screenshots in 4 different image formats ( png, tif, gif, jpg).
● No need to type any DOS command. AndScreen is the ONLY application which gives the simplest process to take screenshots and then examine these using its built-in Screenshot Viewer.
● Screenshots will be saved as a pre-defined format like “A(date)-(time).xyz” in C drive folder “AndScreenshots”.
● Monitor all the Removable USB devices connected to your computer like mobile phones, flash drives, memory cards (with card reader) etc.
● It has a built-in Screenshot Viewer with a special scrolling option for larger images.
● You must have Android SDK alongwith USB drivers installed on pc in order to use AndScreen application.
● You must locate the Android ADB folder “Platform-tools” in order to use “AndScreen” for the first time only.
● AndScreen is developed in Visual Basic 6.0 language under Windows XP SP3 machine.
● Supported Windows OS: XP/ 7 (32 bit)
You can download AndScreen from My Softwares Page link.
Possible Error Messages:
Error # 1 (a) : File Not Found: adb.exe. Please relocate default folder
(b) : File Not Found: AdbWinApi.dll. Please relocate default folder
(c) : File Not Found: AdbWinUsbApi.dll. Please relocate default folder
Solution: Android SDK must be installed on your PC in order to use “AndScreen” software because “AndScreen” will use above three missing files which are a part of Android SDK package. Read this tutorial for the easy installation of Android SDK package alongwith USB drivers.
Then Relocate the default folder “Platform-tools” by Manual or Automatic process. Then “Save” this location and restart “AndScreen” software. You will never see above error messages again.
Error # 2: “File Not Found: fb0.raw. Process Stopped !!”
Solution: Disconnect your mobile from PC and reconnect again. Also restart “AndScreen” software. Make sure that your can see your android phone information in the black horizontal screen like this:
System Mode (for non-rooted/ rooted phones):
Recovery Mode (for ROOTED phone only):
Above screenshots are taken by using Rooted QMobile Noir A2 which is a Mediatek MT65xx device.
There are many android applications present on Google Play Store that are capable to move or install apps on SD Card. The good example is App2SD which I have used but it is failed for some Android applications like Adobe Flash Player, Screenshot and so on.
There is better alternate solution which is ADB method (ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge). Below are the screenshots BEFORE and AFTER applying this ADB method:
These are the steps of ADB method:
(1) Download and install Java. Skip this step if JDK (Java Development Kit) is already installed on your Windows OS.
(2) Download and install Android SDK . It is very important that the installation path must be “C:\android” to avoid any confusion.
(3) Run Android SDK Manager by going to “Start Menu > Programs > Android SDK Tools > SDK Manager”.
Select the packages like Android SDK Tools, Android SDK Platform-tools and Google USB Driver Package and click “Install Packages” button.
(4) On your Android device (Qmobile Noir A2), go to Menu > Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging (check: ON). Select Allow USB debugging : OK.
Before proceeding, make sure that you have installed the USB drivers from Qmobile driver CD. Now connect your mobile to PC via USB cable which will automatically start the Qmobile PC Suite application. Just close it (don’t connect it).
For Windows XP users:
(a) Run Command prompt by going to Start Menu > Run
This will show the list of all devices attached.
Command # 1:
adb shell pm getInstallLocation
or adb shell pm get-install-location (for ICS versions)
The output will be 0[auto] by default. Below are the options you have:
0[auto] : Installation to auto location decided by Android OS
1[internal] : Installation to internal storage of mobile
2[external] : Installation to external media like SD Card
To set SD Card as default install location, run this command:
Command # 2:
adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2
or adb shell pm set-install-location 2 (for ICS versions)
To verify that above command worked correctly, you can run Command # 1 again.
To change the install location to 0[auto] again, run this command:
Command # 3:
adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0
or adb shell pm set-install-location 0 (for ICS versions)
Run Command # 1 again to verify the install location:
You can simply unplug your mobile from PC after setting install location to SD Card.
I have made this tutorial simple for inexperienced Android users. If you have any question related to this article, post it here.
Few months ago, QMobile Noir A2 gained popularity among Pakistani mobile users due to its fast processing speed and reasonable features in very low price. Qmobile Noir A2 is an Android based smartphone equipped with Gingerbread 2.3.6 version, 3.2 MP rear camera with 0.3 MP front camera, 1GHz single core Processor (ARM v7),172 MB internal memory, 235 MB RAM, 3.5 Inches Capacitive touchscreen, TV out feature, 32 GB MicroSD card support, FM Radio, 3.5 mm jack output, Wifi, Bluetooth, USB etc but without GPS and 3G.
Qmobile Noir A2 is still leading the market in its cheap category under 9K pak rupees, although there are also some cheap china made smartphones like Gfive A68 and A79 available. It is not a secret that QMobile is also a Pakistani importer & distributor of China made mobiles.
Please read the detailed review of Qmobile Noir A2 published on November 21, 2012. These are some important points of this review:
► 3.5 inches TFT capacitive touchscreen (Multi-touch feature)
► HVGA display screen resolution (320 x 480 pixels)
► Maximum 5 homescreen panes with easy switching
► Dual SIM, Dual standby, Dual Band (900 / 1800)
► Dimensions: 114 x 61 x 12.9 mm (Height x Width x Thickness)
► Approximate Weight : 120g (battery included)
► 1 GHz single core processor (as claimed by QMobile)
► Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) with QAPPS support
► CPU : MT 6575 Chipset, ARM v7 Processor revision 10
► BogoMIPS: 1998.84 MHz (Checked using Quadrant Standard Benchmark)
► GPU : PowerVR SGX 531
► Quadrant Benchmark Score: 1577
► AnTuTu Benchmark Score: 3313
► NenaMark 2.4 Benchmark Score: 29.9
► Google Play Store version 3.9.16
► Adobe Flash support: YES (Version 11.1 checked)
► Internal Memory : 172 MB (90 MB free user memory available)
► RAM : 235 MB
► Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Tethering and portable hotspot
► GPRS Class 12, EDGE Class 12
► 3G : Not supported
► GPS : Not supported
► 3.15 MP (2048 x 1536) rear camera, Auto-focus, geo-tagging, face detection
► Camera Flash light : NO
► 0.3 MP front video call camera
► MicroUSB 2.0 port (charging) and stereo bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support
► MicroSD slot (supported upto 32 GB), 4GB memory card included
► Standard 3.5 mm audio jack support
► Sensors: Motion, Proximity, Accelerometer
► Stereo FM Radio (with record as 3gpp audio file)
► TV Out feature (HDMI cable not included in the box)
► Android Live Wallpapers
► Documents To Go 2.5 Full version (Create/ Edit/ View of doc, xls, ppt, pdf files)
► Android Web Browser, Opera Mini 6.5 pre-installed
► Google Search & Voice-input search
► PC Suite software (with driver installation CD)
► Video chat support via wifi network (on Skype, Yahoo and Tango)
► Social media Integration (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Messenger, MSN talk Pro, Gtalk, Google Maps, Latitude, Places etc)
► E-Mail solution (GMail, Yahoo Mail, Android Mail)
► Saavn, Calendar,AccuWeather widget, Angry Birds and Talking Tom pre-installed
► Practically unlimited phonebook
► Text messages in threaded view
► 1300 mAh Lithium ion standard battery, approx 6 hrs talk time, 10 hrs music play, 4.5 hrs web surfing (wifi), 5 hrs video playback, 60 hrs standby time (tested).
► Price: 8700 Pak rupees (Karachi, Lahore confirmed)
Major Disadvantages of QMobile Noir A2:
► Low internal memory (only 90 MB internal storage available out of 172 MB)
► Low RAM ( approx. 40-50 MB free RAM available out of 235 MB)
► NO GPS support
► NO 3G support (this is not a disadvantage if you are in a country like Pakistan where 3G services are still not available for mobile users)
If you have any information or question related to Noir A2 mobile then post it here.
There are many Android users who want to make backup of installed applications of their Android phone or tablet on memory card (SD card). The possible reasons are as follows:
- User want to apply full factory reset which will erase all manual installations.
- User want to install same apps on another Android phone without any internet connection.
- User have installed an application which has moderate importance for him but due to insufficient internal storage of phone, he want to uninstall it.
There may be any other reason for you but if this is the case, then My APKs is an ultimate solution for you. This is the best backup & restore solution of installed applications for your Android phone. This is completely FREE and also ADS FREE application. A must have application for your Android devices.
Main Features of “My APKs” application:
Create backup of installed applications on memory card. You have option to manually select every single installed application or just make a backup of ALL installed apps by a single click. I have 38 installed apps and it took approximately 15 seconds (for 57MB size) to save all these apps on SD Card as “.apk” files. It is assumed that you already know what is “apk” file (Android Application Package). For more info, please read this article.
The home screen of My APKs shows a list of all installed applications. Select any application and long press on the screen will show some options for you like:
Details : Shows information about installed application like version number, installation date, updated date, file size, permissions etc.
Copy to : Select the folder on memory card to save the selected application as a .apk file. I have manually created new folder named as “My_APKs”.
Share (apk) : Share the selected app via wifi, bluetooth, email, skype etc.
Share (url) : Share the web link of selected app present on Google Play Store.
Report : Save the list of all installed applications on SD card as txt, html or pdf file.
These are the screenshots of My APKs application running successfully on QMobile Noir A2 (1GHz version, Gingerbread 2.3.6):
The best part is that you can also save system apk files like Google Play Store. First, you have to select option “Load System Apps too : YES” under “Settings” Menu. Then make a backup which will save all apk files (APK Folder size : 176 MB for my case). One can easily find the required apk saved file if browse it from Android File Manager as seen in the screen shots above.